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The Sales Process: The Backbone of a Successful Sales Effort

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Mar 31, 2021 10:12:16 AM
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The Sales Process: The Backbone of a Successful Sales Effort

Rarely was a successful effort in the sales team impromptu. Companies that achieve tangible results offer guidance to their salespeople, and those who follow a structured sales process ultimately outperform those who don't. 

A defined progression for salespeople will give them a benchmark and let them know what to do next in an effective sales process. In this article we will learn about this process and we will provide you with the stages that normally compose it and how a company should start it effectively. 

 

Index 

  • What is a sales process? 
  • The 7 steps to creating an effective sale process. 

 

What is a sales process? 

As we saw previously, a sales process is a set of stages or steps that the seller of a company follows with specific actions to take a potential buyer from the initial knowledge stage to a closed sale. 

In short, it is a potential customer's journey from the moment he realizes he needs a product or service until he completes the purchase. 

Now that you've made it this far, let's see why following a defined sales process is more than a good idea. A sales process will allow you among other things: better organize your sales channel, prioritize potential customers and finally, evaluate the effectiveness of your sales efforts. According to research by the Sales Management Association, 90% of all companies that use a formal, guided sales process were ranked as the top performers. Additionally, a Harvard Business Review (HBR) study showed that companies with a standardized sales process see up to 28% increase in revenue compared to those that don't. 

Finally, a sales process allows you to objectively evaluate your sales efforts. How did your representatives do? What worked well for them? Where did things go well or badly? Did they deviate from the cycle? What if they did? 

 

The 7 steps to creating an effective sales process 

Relying on the talent of a salesperson without a defined process can bring you profit, but it may be a longer process, sales are not a game of intuition and creativity, they need a set of standardized steps. Here we show you how you can establish a sales process with your team for your daily sales activities. 

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1. Potential Customer 

Explore business social networks like LinkedIn or search specialized pages like www.dnb.com, the prospecting part is not the most exciting, but the most important. This stage will allow you to identify qualified potential customers (SQL), analyzing if this customer adapts to your product and your Buyer Persona and also if they may be interested in listening what your salesperson has to tell you. 

 

2. Connect 

Once you have identified these prospects and classified them according to their interest and according to their degree of proximity to the ideal customer. Start an interaction process, you can ask a mutual acquaintance to introduce them, you can send him a message through the same channels where you found the lead, such as LinkedIn himself or you can communicate with him through email or telephone. Whichever channel you use to connect, ideally first introduce yourself, share the value of what you have to offer, and identify if this Lead would be interested in learning more. 

 

3. Research 

Once you have identified that the potential client is interested in your product, it is necessary that you schedule an exploration meeting, in which you will ask all the questions that are necessary to learn more about your lead's business, as well as their needs and their ability to solve those needs. It may happen that, in that call, the seller realizes that it is not a good option to implement his service or product in that company or, on the contrary, he obtains a lot of relevant information and can sell much more than he had originally planned. 

 

4. Presentation

 Remember to customize your presentation to the needs of your ideal client, the ideal for this presentation is to be done with a team of decision makers in your potential client's company. At this point the seller must be prepared to answer any questions that arise. 

 

5. Handling objections 

Do not think that, by having a structured sales process, the process will be successful and will not have any obstacles. You should be prepared for many rejections by some members of your prospect's team. No investment is made behind closed eyes and they too will have your questions and concerns before purchasing the product or service. 

So, after your presentation, be prepared to answer questions about your pricing, your budgets, your competitors, whether they understand your product, your specific business challenges, or any other issues that your presentation may bring to light. Be prepared to listen carefully, ask for context, and do what you can to understand their objections before addressing them. 

 

6. Close 

Many questions will likely have to be discussed with IT or the legal department at the end of the presentation. Once this step has been completed, it is time to request the closing, this means that it will be defined if the client is ready to buy. 

Two things can happen, that the client agrees with the terms and says yes, at this time the contract will be drawn up and sent for signature or that on the contrary the answer of your potential client is a no, in this case it is You may need to address more objections or walk away until it's a good time. 

 

7. Follow-up and generation of references 

Remember, the seller's job doesn't end with a handshake after the contract is signed. After closing, you must ensure that your customers are happy with the service or product that you recommended. Keeping them happy is synonymous with generating new business, a satisfied customer is an excellent source of referrals and new business to continue to jump-start the sales process, foster more relationships, and ultimately generate income. 

For more tips see our blog: The ultimate guide to creating a sales process

For a sales manager, following a standardized sales process creates the ability to focus on the things that matter most: planning, distributing leads, prioritizing tasks, better managing your team's time and workload, as well as forecasting. more accurate sales. 

Follow the steps and improve it, a sales process should be reviewed and adapted regularly, making sure it reflects the current state of the market and the changing needs of your customers, the skills of your team and the specific characteristics of your business. 

You can also review:  How to measure the effectiveness of your Sales Process

As a final advice, this process could be complicated without a tool that allows you to carry the process properly, that is why we recommend that you have a CRM, this will allow you, among other things, to easily program all sales stages, document all communications and move a potential customer from one stage to another at the right time. Less work, more sales. What more could you want? 

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